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Zimbabwe opposition says will leave talks if government violence not halted

International Herald Tribune

The Associated PressPublished: October 9, 2007

WELLINGTON, New Zealand: Zimbabwe's opposition parties will pull out of
South African-brokered talks with the government of President Robert Mugabe
if violence against them is not halted, an opposition leader said Tuesday.

Zimbabweans are still being beaten and killed by President Mugabe's militias
despite negotiations between his government and opposition parties, a senior
member of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said here.

MDC secretary for international affairs Sekai Holland said the talks
brokered by South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki would collapse if the
violence didn't stop.

"As I speak today, another 64-year-old was beaten to death by the same squad
that beat me up," said Holland, a victim of an attack on MDC members in
March who is visiting New Zealand at the invitation of the minority Green

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai was also brutally beaten during the March
attack in Zimbabwe's capital, Harare.

That attack was widely publicized and led to other African states calling on
President Mbeki to initiate talks in a bid to reach agreement on free and
fair elections.
"We support the Mbeki initiative ... but if Mugabe continues to beat our
people up we are pulling out of the talks," Holland said.

She said the MDC, Zimbabwe's main opposition party, is calling on the
international community to intervene, stop the violence against opposition
supporters and recognize the extent of the nation's humanitarian crisis.

"Everybody knows Zimbabweans are starving to death," Holland told reporters.
"The situation is disgusting ... people suspected of supporting us are being
kidnapped, beaten and killed."

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Zimbabwe women speak out against police abuse and torture

International Herald Tribune

The Associated PressPublished: October 9, 2007

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa: Women activists in Zimbabwe have been beaten and
forced to strip by police and detained while with their babies, according to
a report alleging violations by security forces released Tuesday by one of
Zimbabwe's leading civil rights organizations.

Women of Zimbabwe Arise released results of a preliminary report showing
that 73 percent of an initial sample of 397 members have been arrested more
than once, 40 percent were tortured and 50 percent detained longer than the
allowed 48 hours. About 26 percent were injured badly enough to receive
medical treatment.

WOZA, formed in 2003, has become a powerful voice in the deepening economic
and political crises in Zimbabwe. It has held over 100 peaceful protests and
is known for its annual Valentine's Day march in which red roses are
distributed in a call for love, peace and harmony in the country.

"Women of WOZA have often been the target of unprovoked attacks," said Jenni
Williams, one of the founders of the organization. Williams has been
arrested about 30 times has been living in safe houses for the last three

International organizations such as Amnesty International as well as human
rights bodies in Zimbabwe have made similar assessments that human and
political rights are increasingly under attack in the country.

"These types of violations have become commonplace in Zimbabwe as the
government seeks to prevent Zimbabweans from protesting against the
continuing devastating mismanagement of the economy, extensive and malicious
corruption and a total disregard for the well-being of Zimbabweans,"
Williams said.
Williams was accompanied by a number of members and a few - including a
19-year-old woman - gave an emotional account of their time at the hands of
police, often breaking down into tears.

Comment from Zimbabwe police was not immediately available. An official at
Zimbabwe's embassy in Pretoria, who would only give his name as P.T.
Chigiji, said he could not comment as he had not seen the report.

Williams said the report was done to highlight the violent conditions that
still exist despite reports about progress being made in talks between
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party and the

South African President Thabo Mbeki, appointed by the Southern African
Development Community to lead the mediation efforts, said last week that the
negotiations were going well that there had been agreement that the
elections would be free and fair elections.

"This can only occur if the process and the political climate in which it
takes places are fully free and fair. An essential component of this climate
is the absence of violence," Williams said.

Mbeki has been criticized for advocating what he calls quiet diplomacy over
confronting Mugabe, who is accused of overseeing his country's economic and
political collapse.

Williams, who is part of a civil society group that is meeting with the team
involved in the mediation efforts, said her organization was giving Mbeki
"the benefit of the doubt." But she expressed concern the talks focused too
much on political power and not enough on the social, economic and political
rights of Zimbabweans.

"So we will continue to put pressure of the South African government so that
they hear and can respond to the call of ordinary South Africans," she said.

Williams also said her organization rejected recent constitutional
amendments supported by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change in
what was described as a show of faith in the negotiations. Critics say the
changes further consolidate ZANU-PF's power.

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More support needed for Zimbabwean people

Scoop, New Zealand
More support needed for Zimbabwean people

Sekai Holland at a media conference earlier today – Scoop Image


Green MP Keith Locke supported calls from visiting a Zimbabwean opposition politician, Sekai Holland, for greater humanitarian assistance.

"At present we only give $1.04 million in aid to the Zimbabwe people, through NGOs and UNICEF. This is down from $1.7 million in 2005/06.

"Zimbabwe is a disaster zone. The economy and health system has collapsed, and a quarter of the population has migrated to neighbouring countries.

"Sekai Holland is a living example of why the world must keep pressing Mugabe to return to the rule of law. She was put in hospital last March when Mugabe's thugs attacked her with iron bar, breaking several bones.

"Helen Clark should press other Commonwealth leaders, when they meet in Uganda this November, to take a strong, united stand for a return to democracy. The scheduled talks between Mugabe's regime and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change will come to naught unless there is an end to the violence.

"The Greens support Ms Holland's call for New Zealand and other countries to step up their support to Zimbabweans who have fled the country, particularly in the area of job training - which will be particularly useful to help reconstruct Zimbabwe, post-Mugabe."


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Zimbabwe drops "terror" charges against opposition


Tue 9 Oct 2007, 9:01 GMT

HARARE (Reuters) - Prosecutors in Zimbabwe have withdrawn "terror" charges
against 22 opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) activists because
of insufficient evidence, defence lawyers said on Tuesday.

The activists, including a member of parliament, were arrested in March as
President Robert Mugabe's government launched a crackdown on the opposition,
which saw MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai severely beaten in police custody.

State prosecutors had charged the men with undergoing "terrorism" training
in South Africa and attempted murder. Prosecutors also said they were
responsible for a spate of petrol bombings mainly targeting police stations
this year.

 Defence lawyer Alec Muchadehama said on Tuesday the charges had been
dropped because of lack of evidence.
"They withdrew the charges before plea. ... They are conceding that they
have no evidence to convict although the police are suggesting that they are
tying (up) a few loose ends," Muchadehama told Reuters.

There was no immediate comment from prosecutors.

The men were rounded up after anti-riot police stopped an opposition prayer
rally in Harare.

The crackdown drew widespread condemnation of Mugabe's strong-arm tactics in
handling the opposition and prompted regional heads of state to task South
Africa's President Thabo Mbeki to mediate between the government and the

Mugabe -- Zimbabwe's sole ruler since independence from Britain in 1980 -- 
denies his controversial policies have ruined a once promising economy and
accuses the MDC of plotting with Western governments to unseat him.

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Zimbabwe's last white farmers face uncertain future in land row


Eleven of Zimbabwe's last remaining white farmers face a court battle
Thursday to remain on their properties in defiance of a government eviction
order under the country's controversial land reforms.

"The magistrate will make his ruling on Thursday whether the case should be
referred to the supreme court or whether they should stand trial," their
lawyer David Drury told AFP.

The farmers from the northwestern Mashonaland West province were summoned to
a magistrate's court in the farming town of Chegutu, 100 kilometres (60
miles) northwest of Harare, to answer charges of breaching the Gazette Land
Consequential Provisions Act after their land was earmarked for

"They were literally forced into court after police made them sign
statements," Drury said.

"But they are all denying the charges."

Under the law, a farmer is given an ultimatum to wrap up his business and
vacate his property if it is designated for the resettlement of black
farmers and faces a two-year jail term if found guilty of breaching the law.

Lawyers protested that there was no case warranting putting the farmers on
trial and applied for the case to be heard in the supreme court.

"The farmers are making some constitutional points which have to be
addressed by the supreme court which is the constitutional court," Drury

"One of the points is that the law discriminates on the basis of race
because only white farmers are targetted and also the issues of compensation
and property rights.

One of the farmers, Ben Freeth, said the case would disrupt production in a
country experiencing previously unheard-of food shortages.

"We were busy at the farm trying to prepare the land and organising
chemicals and fertilizers and suddenly we were summoned to court," he told

"Farming involves long-term planning," Freeth says, lamenting the time lost
while the farmers await their fate. "It's very difficult to plan when you
don't know what's going to happen tomorrow."

He said the farmers last week appealed to the regional Southern African
Development Community (SADC) Tribunal to stop the planned evictions.

Zimbabwe, once the southern African region's breadbasket, is facing a
critical shortage of wheat which has forced most bakers to close temporarily
or scale down their production.

The staple cornmeal is also scarce and at least 4.1 million people, nearly a
third of the population, will require food aid during the lean spell
extending to the country's next harvest, according to the UN's World Food

Harare blames the shortfall on drought, but critics put much of the blame on
its agricultural policy begun eight years ago.

Often violent land reforms saw the seizures of at least 4,000 properties
formerly run by white farmers for redistribution to landless blacks, the
majority of whom lacked the skills and means to farm.

Some of the beneficiaries of the land reforms, launched ostensibly to
resettle landless blacks, have been accused of holding on to fallow land for
prestige or turning the farms into barbeque party venues.

Less than 400 white farmers are still believed to be operating in Zimbabwe
as a result of the land reform programme.

President Robert Mugabe has been unapologetic about the expropriations,
saying criticism was inspired by Western anger that the rulers of the former
British colony "for daring to take our destiny into our own hands."

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American arrested in Zimbabwe free pending court


Tue 9 Oct 2007, 9:39 GMT

HARARE, Oct 9 (Reuters) - An American citizen arrested by police in Zimbabwe
on charges of smuggling and illegal possession of arms and ammunition was
freed pending a court appearance later on Tuesday, a U.S. embassy official

Zimbabwe's state radio reported late on Monday that the man, Leslie Francis
Howell Jr from Florida, was arrested at Victoria Falls airport on Friday
when he tried to board a plane with two pistols and 300 rounds of

Police could not immediately comment but officials at the U.S. embassy in
Harare confirmed the arrest.

"He was arrested but was released and his passport has been taken so that he
will not leave the country," an embassy official told Reuters.

"We understand he will appear in court sometime today," said the official,
who would not confirm suggestions by diplomatic sources that the man was on
a hunting trip in Zimbabwe.

The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation said the American was expected to be
charged in court in the north-western town of Hwange.

The man arrived in Harare on Sept. 21 and had been travelling around the
country armed until his arrest, ZBC said.

He "is suspected to be part of a ploy by the United States to scare off
tourists and to depict Zimbabwe as an unsafe destination," the radio said.

Zimbabwe is grappling with a severe economic crisis which critics blame on
President Robert Mugabe's policies and has left the country with the world's
highest inflation rate and surging unemployment.

Mugabe, 83, and in power since independence from Britain says sabotage and
economic sanctions by Western powers, including the United States, has hurt
the economy.

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Moz set to pipe petrol to Zim


    October 09 2007 at 11:36AM

Maputo - The Mozambique Pipeline Company will on Tuesday sign a new
contract with the Zimbabwean government for the transportation of refined
petroleum products from the port of Beira to Feruka in Zimbabwe.

O Pais, a weekly independent newspaper reported in its online edition
that the negotiations that led to the signing of the new contract had lasted
three years.

The signing of the new contract follows the expiry of the first, which
was signed in January 1984 to facilitate the transportation of refined fuel
from Beira to Zimbabwe via a pipeline.

The paper said the new contract would be signed by the Zimbabwean
Energy minister, Michael Nyambuya and the representatives of the
Administrative board of the Mozambique Pipeline Company, Antonio Dias and
Antonio Fernando Laice.

Zimbabwe is among hinterland countries such as Malawi and Zambia which
rely on the Beira port for the importation of the fuel products. - Sapa

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SA could boycott EU summit over Zim


Tue, 09 Oct 2007

South Africa would not attend a 'watered down' European Union-African
summit, its ambassador to the European Union, Dr Anil Sooklal, said on

The planned summit scheduled to take place in Lisbon, Portugal in December,
is being overshadowed by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown's stand that if
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe attends the summit, no British official
will participate.

"It is unfortunate the UK has taken this decision, because our position has
been all along that if you say it is a summit between equals; between the
African continent and the European community, then let us meet on equal
grounds and discuss all the issues including the difficult issues in the
relationship," Sooklal said.

He was speaking in Pretoria a day ahead of a South Africa-EU Ministerial
Troika Meeting that would be attended by Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana
Dlamini-Zuma and her counterpart from Portugal, Luis Amado and several other
European representatives.

Portugal is currently heading the EU and is arranging the December summit.

"We'll not attend a watered down summit we want a summit of equals," Sooklal

'The ball is in the court of the EU'

He however pointed out that the general feeling from the European leadership
was that the summit should take place, indicating that SA would wait for the
reaction from other European leaders.

"The ball is in the court of the EU for them to sort out their politics,
because from the side of the African continent we are very eager," he said.

Several European leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel said they
wanted the summit to go ahead, notwithstanding Mugabe's possible attendance.

Sooklal said the summit would be an opportunity for leaders to raise their
concerns with Mugabe.

"If you do not agree with the policies of a certain leader or country the
best way to address that is in the presence of that leader or in the
presence of the leadership of that country.

"Let them be there and directly speak to the parties concerned but don't lay
preconditions to say if this leader attends the following countries are not
going to attend," he said.


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What a Shame, the AU Defends Mugabe

Accra Mail (Accra)

9 October 2007
Posted to the web 9 October 2007

E. Ablorh-Odjidja

Well, it never changes when you least expect it to. Leaders of the AU are
out again in support of Mugabe, the octogenarian, in his latest tiff with
the EU. The appeal by EU to dissuade the Zimbabwean president from attending
the Lisbon summit has failed. The unanimity of the decision and the reasons
given for the support are enough to make you pity Africa.

"The African Union wants all African countries to take part in the summit in
Lisbon in December", said an official from the AU.

"Zimbabwe, in spite of the crisis, is an African country and we are
defending principles here. We have asked Mugabe to talk to his opposition,
but the AU respects the principle of non-interference. We resort to
interference only in extreme cases of violence or genocide." The official

It is exactly difficult to understand what principles this man is talking
about. Of course, the EU is not seeking to bar Zimbabwe from the Lisbon
summit. It is only seeking to block Mugabe from attendance. Any high ranking
official from Zimbabwe can represent the country.

Clearly, the AU principles mentioned have to be about the special rights
given only to dictators on the continent - to the detriment of the
sensibilities of the rest of us. No wonder the genocide in Darfur is at an
impasse and Sudan still remains a member of the AU. When it comes to doing
the right thing for Africa, this organization, it seems, constantly remains
flummoxed. This fealty or sympathy for Mugabe is a perfect example.

Mugabe has for long stirred up anger within the international community on
human rights issues. But most of the harm he has caused to date, he has done
to his own people and neighbors. His land reform effort, a complete fiasco
stemming from a bad policy, has broken the back of the once healthy
Zimbabwean economy.

Zimbabwe now has the highest inflation rate in the world, said to be about 1
million percent and rising, and according to the United Nations Economic
Commission, the worst economic performance in Africa.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, continuing his country's policy on
Zimbabwe, is eager to push Mugabe out of office. His effort concerning the
Lisbon summit is for this purpose. But it may fail because of the unanimity
of Africa's support for Mugabe.

Granted that Britain happens to be a former colonial master and is to a
great extent responsible for much of the land trouble in Zimbabwe, it is
still not a good reason for Africa to help Zimbabwe cut its nose to spite
its face. After all, who is hurting now, the British or the Zimbabweans? It
will take a lot of callousness on the part of AU officials to defend Mugabe,
but they do.

"It (Zimbabwe) is not the only country not to respect democracy, look at
Togo, Niger... Zimbabwe's problem is mainly with London, it's a bilateral
issue and is none of our business," said an official of the AU in defense of

Funny the connection is made to Togo. The current regime there, under Faure
Gnassingbe, is barely three years old. The AU declared as fair the election
that brought Gnassigbe to power in 2005. Now this official is comparing
"democracy" under Gnassigbe's baby regime to the 27 years old grandfather
regime of Mugabe. What a shame!

Mugabe has been running the government of Zimbabwe since independence in
1980. Is there any question about the negative impact of his tenure on
development in his country and those around Zimbabwe? Isn't this reason
enough for the AU to ask for a change, knowing that the next ruler will be a
Zimbabwean and not a British?

The summit Mugabe and the AU are adamant about attending in concert was
originally planned for April 2003, but according to the BBC, it has been
postponed several times; all in attempt to send a message.

In August 2007, Human Rights Watch wrote a paper called "A Call to Action:
The Crisis in Zimbabwe - SADC's Human Rights Credibility on the Line." In
it, the group reported that:

"The continuing use of arbitrary and excessive use of force by the police
and other agents of the government of Zimbabwe calls into question its
commitment to ending the political crisis in the country, and creates a huge
obstacle to finding a viable solution to this crisis."

The message was for SADC (Southern African Development Community) meeting
that month to act on the problems in Zimbabwe. Regrettably, everything that
concerned Zimbabwe was mentioned in the Summit's communiqué, including a
call on Britain to honor her land settlement promise. Missing was the
response to human rights abuses in Zimbabwe sought.

Thus human rights continue to be enigma in Africa: Is it human rights abuse
when the perpetrator is a black man or the person at the receiving end has a
black skin? The puzzle is yet to be resolved.

E. Ablorh-Odjidja,Publsiher, Washington, DC, October 8,

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The cost of Zimbabwe's company grab

David McKay
Posted: Tue, 09 Oct 2007
[] -- A CONFIDENTIAL document circulated in Zimbabwe last year
estimated its mining industry was worth around US$20bn. Localisation of 51%
of total assets would mean the Zimbabwean government would have to dish out
a collective $10bn.

There's scepticism in the Zimbabwe Chamber of Mines that that can be
achieved. It said: "It's the perception that neither government nor
historically disadvantaged persons can raise the amount."

Douglas Verden, CEO of SA's Chamber of Mines, says: "We're extremely
concerned with this issue."

"Zim is looking all right"

That's a sentiment echoed by Zimplats, which is 87% owned by Impala
Platinum. In May 2006, Impala struck a pact with Mugabe's government to swap
mineral resources in return for 19,5% localisation "credits" and $51m in
cash. Alternatively, credits of 29,25% would be attributed to Zimplats if no
cash were received.

Impala CEO David Brown says no cash was ever paid.

Obviously, that underlines the problems it would have enforcing the new

Brown added that Impala is also due credits for investment in Zimbabwe. "We
built a 77km road and invested in housing and schools in Zimbabwe." He says
those efforts would provide Impala with extra credits.

Meanwhile, Impala is sticking by its former agreement with Zimbabwe's
government, which states it has security of tenure to support production of
at least one million oz/year of platinum production from that country.
Impala is potentially one of the largest investors in the country.

A phase 1 expansion at Zimplats is under way, with combined full production
of 160 000 oz/year of platinum expected by 2010 at a cost of around R3bn.

Worryingly, Zimplats chairman Mike Houston expressed his personal concern
last month that the draft Bill didn't appear to take cognisance of an
agreement the Zimbabwean government had struck with the company.

Stuart Murray, who is invested in Zimbabwe's platinum industry through
Mimosa, a highly profitable mine, says the matter has become too complex and
too delicate to warrant comment.

Though the Bill is final in demanding 51% localisation, recent comments by
Zimbabwe Central Bank governor Gideon Gono asked for a phasing in of the

Says Murray: "Anything I say at the moment could be wrong. This issue is in
the hands of one man. It's a real moving target."

Andrew Mackenzie, CEO of Rio Tinto's diamonds & minerals group, says R1,75bn
($250m) in future investment in Zimbabwe turned on how "indigenous
empowerment" was phased in.

Rio Tinto, which has been in Zimbabwe's mining sector for 50 years, has
spent $100m expanding its Murowa Diamonds since the discovery of diamonds 14
years ago.

The operation, which is 77,8% owned by Rio Tinto, is capable of producing
300,000 carats/year of diamonds. The balance of the mine is already owned by
Rio Zim, an independent local company listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange.

In a speech to the American Business Association of Zimbabwe, Mackenzie
said: "I believe the best way forward would be for the government to
consider indigenous empowerment at a similar pace and scale to the South
African process."

It's a comment that would no doubt amuse officials at South Africa's
Minerals and Energy Department who have been fighting a perception war since
its mining empowerment laws were promulgated in May 2004.

Not all are so pessimistic. Greg Hunter, CEO of Central African Gold (CAG),
says the company would effectively roll with the punches. "We haven't signed
anything yet, so there's less risk for us in terms of indigenisation. In our
discussions we've heard a figure of 30%."

CAG is listed on the ZSE, with 15% of the company owned by Zimbabwean retail
and institutional investors. Says Hunter: "Zim is looking all right.
Concessions have been announced for the mining industry. We can pay staff in
foreign currency, there's compensation offered for boreholes and the fiscal
side of the country is looking pretty smart."

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Zimbabwe a laughing stock, says Mugabe

The Telegraph

By Sebastien Berger, Southern Africa Correspondent

Last Updated: 2:50am BST 09/10/2007

The malnutrition that afflicts millions of Zimbabweans has reduced the
country to a "laughing stock", President Robert Mugabe has admitted.

Distributing equipment to black farmers resettled on land seized from
white owners, he said: "We have become the laughing stock because of hunger.
We all need to eat, whether you are Zanu-PF or MDC. Let's unite."

Since Mr Mugabe began confiscating farms Zimbabwe has gone from being
an agricultural exporter to a country where millions need food aid. He
blames supposed Western sabotage for the situation, rather than his own

An international court is to be asked to rule on the seizure
programme. Papers filed with the Southern Africa Development Community
Tribunal accuse Mr Mugabe's regime of illegal racial discrimination and
violations of human rights.

The first case to be brought before the tribunal, based in Windhoek,
the Namibian capital, since it was set up seven years ago, is being
described as a test for the rule of law in the region.

The action is being brought by Michael Campbell, one of the few
hundred white growers left in Zimbabwe, who has suffered multiple land
invasions and threats of violence at his farm in Chegutu.

As well as an urgent injunction, his representatives are seeking a
declaration that the constitutional amendments behind the farm seizures are

If the tribunal rules in favour of Mr Campbell it would open the way
for all the farmers dispossessed since 2000 to mount challenges of their
own, although whether the court's judgment could be enforced is another

One person with knowledge of the case said: "The critical thing is who
gets to sit on the tribunal.

"The test for the tribunal is whether it is prepared to hold Zimbabwe
to its treaty obligations."

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Mbeki confident on Zimbabwe talks despite MDC threats

Business Day

 09 October 2007


PRESIDENT Thabo Mbeki was confident that the talks between Zimbabwe's
political parties to find a solution to the crisis in that country were
progressing well.

His spokesman Mukoni Ratshitanga was reacting to questions about threats
from Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) that it
would pull out of the South African-brokered talks if violence against it
was not halted.

"On Friday the president told (German) Chancellor (Angela) Merkel that it
was going well - this has not changed," Ratshitanga said.

He did not want to go into details as Mbeki and his team said previously
that it would not discuss the facilitation process in public.

"Those negotiations are going very well and indeed there is a common
determination to conclude them as quickly as possible so as to allow enough
time to implement all of the matters that they must implement," Mbeki said
on Friday during a joint press conference with Merkel, who was on an
official visit to SA.

Associated Press reported today that a senior member of the MDC had said
that Zimbabweans were still being beaten and killed by President Robert
Mugabe's militias despite negotiations between his government and opposition

MDC secretary for international affairs Sekai Holland said the talks
brokered by Mbeki would collapse if the violence did not stop.

"As I speak today, another 64-year-old was beaten to death by the same squad
that beat me up," said Holland, a victim of an attack on MDC members in
March who is visiting New Zealand at the invitation of the minority Green

"We support the Mbeki initiative ... but if Mugabe continues to beat our
people up we are pulling out of the talks," Holland said.

She said the MDC, Zimbabwe's main opposition party, was calling on the
international community to intervene, stop the violence against opposition
supporters and recognise the extent of the nation's humanitarian crisis.

"Everybody knows Zimbabweans are starving to death," Holland told reporters.
"The situation is disgusting ... people suspected of supporting us are being
kidnapped, beaten and killed," she said.

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New wave of price increases as dollar falls

The Zimbabwean

By Bayethe Zitha

BULAWAYO - A new wave of price increases hit Zimbabweans this week,
following another heavy knock taken by the Zimbabwean dollar against other
major currencies at the weekend.
Foreign currency rates shot up in the illegal but thriving street foreign
exchange beginning Friday last week, after a brief lull during which dealers
had feared the likely introduction of stringent measures to curtail their
trade by Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono in his monetary policy
However,business went "back to normal" soon after the announcement,and rates
began to surge further upwards.
As if compensating for lost time, parallel market dealers began buying the
South African Rand for Z$82 000, up from Z$70 000 and selling it at Z$85
000,up from Z$75 000 in the country's second biggest city of Bulawayo on
The Botswana Pula, which used to fetch Z$72 000 from the dealers,who in turn
sold it for Z$75 000, also went up to Z$90 000 and Z$95 000 respectively.
The dealers also began to buy the greenback for Z$550 000 and selling it for
Z$580 000, up from Z$460 000 and Z$480 000 respectively.
"We had taken a backfoot in releasing or accepting foreign currency fearing
that Gono might spring a surprise that would affect our
business.However,after we realised that nothing is likely to happen in the
near future, we have began trading normally and rates are likely to go
further up in the next few weeks up to November. remember civil servants
also got a salary hike and are now buying forex to go and buy goods in
neighbouring countries," said Nokuthula Moyo, one of the dealers on Tuesday
This new rate hike has in turn triggered yet another sudden  increase in the
price of fuel, which shot up from Z$550 000 to Z$660 000 a litre in the
parallel market, the only place where it is always readily available.
Zimbabwean fuel dealers,who buy the precious liquid mostly from neighbouring
Botswana, said they were likely to raise their prices three times between
this and next week,depending on the prevailing exchange rate.
"We get our Pula on the parallel market and we are left with no choice but
to  raise our prices as well to remain in business," said Trust Dube, a fuel
dealer who operates at Munyoro shopping centre in Nkulumane.
Commuter fares also went up by between 50 and 100 per cent on Monday, with
transport operators taking advantage of loss of interest in manning
roadblocks by the police to charge between Z$150 000 and Z$200 000 per urban
Stirke Ndlovu,a spokesman for the Bulawayo Urban Transporters' Association
(BUPTA) confirmed the latest fare and attributed it to the new fuel prices.
"We are also being driven by market trends and need to raise our fares in
line with those trends. However, the agreed fare is Z$150 000 which although
not profitable, can make us remain afloat and should be charged until other
developments that affect our business are encountered," said Ndlovu to The

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Our leaders turned blind eye to Zim

The Star


October 09, 2007 Edition 1

At last Kader Asmal of the ANC has seen the light on Zimbabwe!
Congratulations to the former minister on breaking away from the current ANC
clap-trap on that beleaguered nation.

Perhaps a tad ironic that the mea culpas should come from a promoter of an
education system in his time as minister which encouraged independent
thinking and freedom of speech - unlike the current ANC government's
"collective" line. A line which seemed even to ignore early and correct
moral objections by Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu and the well-informed
warnings of Eleanor Sisulu.

This raises the question in my mind: To what extent are these two
approaches, collective versus the individual opinion, at variance with each
other at cabinet level? I think history will show the ANC collective has
failed dismally many times, as demonstrated by their Zimbabwe policy.

The issue was never about South Africa invading the country, as Trevor
Manuel recently tried to suggest.

It was about condemning the tyranny and the brutalisation of the human
rights of Zimbabwe's people. Something which the ANC leadership has failed
to address ethically and unequivocally - as expected.

Instead, our so-called leaders enabled the violations by not speaking out
early against the mounting vicious policies of that regime. In truth, the
ANC under Thabo Mbeki has done little against the triumph of an evil which
continues to decimate its people and blight Southern African politics.

Kathy Wood

Sunninghill, Sandton

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Zimbabwean Government Fails at Democracy So Has a Go at Tourism

LostWeekend, UK

Zimbabwe, amazingly, is on a tourism drive. Despite chronic food shortages,
the world's worst inflation and thousands of Zimbabweans going for permanent
vacations over the South African border, Robert Mugabe has decided now is
the time to showcase the country to the world.

The government mouthpiece, 'The Herald" newspaper, had the following to say
about tourists visiting the country.

  "generally we expect them to be reasonably impressed. They will find the
country peaceful, almost free of violent crime, bustling economically and
eager to welcome tourists. They will see some empty shelves in many
supermarkets but will also find very few shortages in hotels and
Zimbabwe did use to be the bread basket of Africa and also a major tourism
destination, nowadays it's more like a basket case. Have a browse through
the government press release at the Zimbabwe Herald for a trip into

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It's all in the cards

Toronto Sun

Mon, October 8, 2007

Playing cards mock Mugabe's Zimbabwe and give insight into the political
situation in that country


When Zimbabwe gained independence in 1980, its proud boast was that along
with South Africa it was the only self-sustaining, self-reliant economy in
black Africa.

President Robert Mugabe generously gave credit to the Ian Smith regime
(Rhodesia) he'd replaced for this fortuitous state of affairs.

Today, more than 25 years later, Zimbabwe's curse is that at 7,600% it has
the highest inflation rate in the world (its government's assessment). Its
currency has collapsed, and it is has become the most repressive regime on
the continent. With no relief in sight, Marxist President Robert Mugabe now
blames drought and Western countries for all failings.

Even China says that apart from humanitarian aid, it's dropping aid to
Zimbabwe (which means the humanitarian aid will be diverted to sustain the
system rather than the people). To cope, Mugabe has banned all pay
increases -- at a time when public workers, teachers and the army are
demanding a pay boost.

He also banned price increases, when there is virtually nothing to buy.

Zimbabwe and its citizens are in bad shape. But a sense of humour prevails.

Satirical decks of playing cards, origin uncertain, are mysteriously
circulating throughout Zimbabwe that lampoon and mock corrupt politicians
and the brutal reality of the police, army, justice system, the economy.

Since mocking Mugabe and ridiculing the government can mean jail or worse,
possessing these playing cards in Zimbabwe takes courage. The cartoon-like
drawings on the cards are a political lesson on what is happening in the
country today.

Here's a thumbnail assessment of some of the pictures on each card, based on
findings of Frontline/World, which works with U.S. Public Broadcasting and
journalism schools at Berkeley and Columbia, to send investigative reporters
to probe controversial issues the mainstream media often avoid:

ACE: "Robber" Mugabe sits on a throne of money, much of which comes from the
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to which Mugabe rents his soldiers (a
$200-million contract) for a war that has already claimed some 4 million

KING: Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa points to a graph showing the economy
plunging off the chart and through the floor. Last year the inflation rate
was 1,000%, this year it's over 7,000%. By comparison, neighbouring Zambia's
inflation rate is under 10%.

QUEEN: This shows Mugabe's second wife, Grace Marufu, 40 years younger than
her husband. She started out as a junior secretary in his office and today
is known as "First Shopper of Zimbabwe" and frequents the boutiques of Paris
and London.

JACK: Shows Gideon Gono, governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, leading a
bunch of ministers depositing suitcases of money at a Swiss bank. Gono was
responsible for changing Zimbabwe's currency and drastically raising prices.

TEN: Depicts the Zimbabwe National Police (ZNP) beating a man whose hands
are tied behind his back. Opposition offices are regularly raided. Curtailed
police salaries has resulted in widespread corruption and brutality.

NINE: This shows the dreaded ZNA (Zimbabwe National Army) with smoking guns
and the bodies of civilians lying around, all shot in the back.

EIGHT: Shows Air Zimbabwe -- boarding stairs with no aircraft, which
symbolizes the airline's dysfunctional service with no spare parts, chronic
fuel shortages and defaulting on bills. Periodically, passengers have been
stranded when regular flights have been commandeered to take the Mugabes on
holidays, or his wife shopping.

SEVEN: Shows wall graffiti in prison that "Freedom is coming to Zimbabwe one
day." Political prisoners fill jails -- 22,000 are crammed into space
designed for 16,000.

SIX: Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) is the country's only TV outlet
and is a propaganda arm for the government. The picture shows an emaciated
man posing as a fat man holding bags of food. Once an exporter of food,
Zimbabwe now depends of food aid due to Mugabe confiscating productive white
farms and wrecking them.

FIVE: Rural chiefs are persuaded to join the ruling ZANU-PF government party
and prospering as fat pigs with snouts in the feeding trough.

FOUR: Shows the Beit Bridge Customs on the South African border at the
Limpopo river where the only sure way to leave or bring in goods is to pay

South Africa deports some 450 illegals a day to Zimbabwe. Swimming the
Limpopo to escape ensures crocodiles are well fed.

THREE: Mugabe's nephew Philip Chiyangwa is reputed to be one of the
country's richest men even though he's spent time in prison for selling
state secrets to South Africa.

TWO: Line-ups are normal for shoppers. The "Queue Wait" is a pun on Kuwait,
which has abundant consumer goods. Queuewait has "No fuel, No food, No

JOKER: Prof. Jonathan Moyo was a scathing critic of Mugabe's human rights
abuses until he was made Minister of Information. Then he became an ardent
Mugabe advocate, introducing harsh media laws until he was fired. He, then,
returned to criticizing the regime.

Some "joker!" Many think he intends to be president if Mugabe agrees to die.

Using wry humour to depict the oppressive nature of dictatorship is nothing
new -- witness George Orwell's Animal Farm, which, arguably, is the most
thorough (and effective) indictment of totalitarian horror ever done.

Satirical decks of playing cards have been mysteriously circulating
throughout Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe that lampoon and mock the corrupt

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MDC-UK branch leaders on party crisis

8th Oct 2007 01:14 GMT


We have taken the unprecedented but necessary step of writing this email to
dissociate ourselves from the petition that we are alleged to have written
calling for the ouster of the elected MDC-UK & Ireland External Assembly
Chairman and Secretary, Messrs Ephraim Tapa and Julius Mutyambizi and their
subsequent replacement by Mr Rodwell Mupungu and Ms Virginiah Ncube
currently the Deputy Chairman and secretary respectively.

Ms Ncube has since issued a statement refuting that that she is part of this
group of five former Executive members with the support of some few branch
chairs including the four who were suspended for holding illegal meetings.

We continue to recognise Mr Ephraim Tapa as the leader of the External
Assembly and wish to re-affirm our continued confidence in his leadership.

We also note with sadness that some members of the Executive have chosen to
break away from the Party and have proceeded to form their own structure, A
New Beginning, A New Province.

We believe that they will see the error of the ways and rejoin the others to
pursue the core business of the Party, to remove the dictatorial government
of Robert Mugabe.

We also call upon our erstwhile colleagues to realise that the enemy is
Robert Mugabe, not Tapa or Julius and that they should refrain from using
inflammatory language as was the case during the Northampton fundraising
last Saturday where the sloganeering was in very bad taste and unbecoming of
people who purport to be revolutionaries.

We deplore the unethical practice of including our branches as having
attended un-procedural meetings whose agenda we were not, are not and would
never be part of as this goes against the very democratic tenets that we are
fighting against in Zimbabwe.

We strongly condemn the practice by a member of the Executive who has since
joined hands with others of his ilk, to give out our residential addresses
to his cronies so that they can pay us visits to cajole, coerce and
blackmail us into supporting their ill conceived project.

We gave this man our addresses in good faith and to enable him to post to us
party cards. We would have expected that this man would have had the decency
to ask us for our consent before giving out our details to other people who
want to advance their perverted agenda of destroying the Party from within.
Needless to say, this man is violating the Data Protection Act.

We condemn strongly the tendency by some people who have since decided to go
their own separate ways to incessantly call us wanting to find out where are
our allegiance lie.

We further express our revulsion at their practice of hyping up their
perceived and/or actual relationships with some National Executive members
in Harare and their implicit threats that by not supporting their view
points we are going against the wishes of our esteemed leaders in Harare.

We would want to reiterate our conviction that the fate of the MDC-UK &
Ireland leaders lie in the hands of its general membership and not in the
hands of a few power hungry branch chairs who are unwittingly advancing the
cause of some dark forces lurking in the shadows.

It is now apparent, why the former Provincial Vice Chairman was going to
branches urging them to sign the petition, as he did at a fundraising in
Peterborough. We think that such an act, proves beyond reasonable doubt that
the illegal meetings that were being convened, were being done at his behest
and that there is no basis for the removal of the Chairman and the Secretary
other than to massage his ego and thirst for power.

We want to make it be known that all branches in the UK are equal and that
Birmingham, Sheffield/South Yorkshire, Northampton and Reading are not more
equal than others and can not therefore determine who becomes the UK
Chairman, Secretary or Youth Leader. We are for equality kwete zvehushefu.

We are saddened by reports that are appearing on the Matthew
Nyashanu/Makusha Mugabe website about some branches being fictitious. We
would like to remind their jaded memories that the formation of branches
prior to the elections in September 2006 fell under the direct supervision
of Ms Emily Madamombe, now the Deputy Chief Representative of the MDC to the
UK and Mr Jaison Matewu.

We remember that Mr Chawora and Nyashanu participated in the formation of
the Northampton branch and therefore find it self serving on the part of
Nyashanu and Makusha Mugabe to suggest that the branches were formed by Tapa
and Julius.

Are the two gentlemen suggesting that Ms Madamombe was forming the branches
at the behest of Tapa? In the same vein, we want it to be known that we
support the Chairman in his quest to complete the gap filling exercise and
are at a loss as to how he can be held responsible for vacancies occurring
in branches?

We further, note with concern the continued lambasting and negative coverage
that is being given to Zimbabweans who are claiming asylum in this website
owned by supposedly senior officials of the Party.

It is quite strange that people who are themselves beneficiaries of the
asylum process that they acquired through their membership of the MDC-UK and
Ireland, are now denigrating others whose cases are still to be determined.

We note with exception their attempts to introduce segregation and
discrimination in the Party on the basis of one's immigration status and the
inherent insinuations in their articles that asylum issues should not be
discussed in Party meetings or that asylum seekers should not attend

We would urge our members to be vigilant and continue to concentrate on the
task at hand of removing the Mugabe regime and to be wary of being
distracted by people who are bent on perpetuating and prolonging Mugabe's
stay in power.

Yours sincerely

Branch Chairmen and Representatives

Manchester, Wolverhampton, Liverpool, Huddersfield, Stoke-on-Trent,
Newcastle, Hull, Dublin, Wakefield, Peterborough, Harlow, Central London,
Kent, Crawley, Derby, Coventry, Leicester, South Beds, Oxford, South East
London, Hertfordshire, Bristol, Cambridge, Banbury, Milton Keynes, Reading,

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Opportunity knocks for Zimbabwe

Mail and Guardian

Trevor Ncube

08 October 2007 11:59

      While the Zimbabwean crisis is deepening, the continued focus on
the description of the crisis at the expense of finding solutions to it has
been unhelpful. That the main protagonists in the crisis have dug themselves
into entrenched positions from which they are unwilling or incapable of
extricating themselves also is unhelpful.

      In an effort to deal with President Robert Mugabe's misrule the
West has opted for a policy of containment and isolation aimed at delivering
regime change. The strategy has focused mainly on sanctions, demonising
Mugabe and condemning his misrule at every opportunity. But clearly, in the
past seven years, this has failed to achieve the goal of regime change.

      I believe it's time for those concerned about Zimbabwe to take a
leaf from the Chinese language, which depicts the word "crisis" with two
characters: one denotes danger and the other opportunity. Much as the
Zimbabwe situation is replete with dangers arising from the political and
economic meltdown, the same meltdown is creating opportunities for change.
Sadly, while the dangers are common cause, the opportunities remain

      First opportunity
      Since the beginning of the year Mugabe has made it clear he
wants to seek re-election when his presidential term expires in March 2008.
He will be 84. He has been mobilising Zanu-PF affiliated groups -- 
especially youth, women and liberation war veterans -- to endorse his
controversial candidacy.

      But how is Mugabe's determination to seek re-election an
opportunity for change? His determination to seek re-election, it seems, is
a ploy to find what his supporters have defined a "dignified exit" -- an
exit guaranteeing Mugabe immunity when he leaves.

      So far those opposed to him have responded merely by condemning
him as being power hungry and clinging to power to remain in office for
life. While Mugabe's determination to remain in office for life, and the
brutality associated with that determination, is central to the crisis, it
is not enough merely to make this observation without also critically
examining the reasons behind his determination.

      After 27 years of misrule, 10 of which were under the extended
Rhodesian state of emergency that institutionalised brutality and
unaccountability in governance between 1980 and 1990, Mugabe has accumulated
too many human rights skeletons in his political cupboard.

      These relate mainly, but not only, to the skeletons arising from
four tragedies that have stood out over the years: Gukurahundi; the violent
land seizures between 2000 and 2005; murder and disappearance of opposition
and civic society activists since 1985; and Operation Murambatsvina in 2005.

      There is no doubt these tragedies have left Mugabe vulnerable
and liable to prosecution on allegations of crimes against humanity. As such
it is obvious that a driving force behind Mugabe's determination to cling to
power is his fear of losing immunity of and from the office. His fear has
been made more real by the experiences of former Liberian president Charles
Taylor and former Zambian president Frederick Chiluba, both of whom face
prosecutions related to alleged abuses when they were in office.

      Without condoning his abuses, I believe Mugabe's fears provide
an opportunity to structure and facilitate his exit in a creative way to
minimise, if not eliminate, resistance from him and his supporters in the
security forces.

      A possibility, an immense opportunity for reform, would be to
persuade Mugabe to drop his re-election bid and to accept a constitutionally
backed guarantee of immunity. Except for extremists on the fringes of the
opposition and civil society, few Zimbabweans are interested in pursuing
vengeance against Mugabe, the founding president, and many would happily
forgive him in exchange for political and economic freedom.

      Second opportunity
      The second opportunity could come in less than three months at
the Zanu-PF special congress in December.

      After sustained opposition from the ruling party faction led by
retired Major General Solomon Mujuru, Mugabe has been renewing his
relationship with his former minister for national security, and now
minister of rural housing and social amenities, Emmerson Mnangagwa, who
leads a competing faction.

      Although he was humiliated and sidelined ahead of the last
Zanu-PF congress in 2004, losing the party's vice-presidency to Joice
Mujuru -- wife to Solomon Mujuru Mnangagwa has been re-emerging as a power
base, this time by lending his faction's support to Mugabe's re-election
bid. Mugabe has been encouraging Mnangagwa by indicating he is his chosen
successor. A reason for this is the presumption that, because he was
security minister during the Gukurahundi massacres, Mnangagwa has common
prosecution fears over allegations of crimes against humanity and would
protect Mugabe as a matter of self-interest.

      Growing talk within the Mnangagwa camp -- and from intelligence
sources --is that Mugabe called the special congress in December to anoint
Mnangagwa publicly as his successor. The next congress was not due until

      What remains unclear is whether Mugabe would allow Mnangagwa to
take over party leadership in December and move on to be the Zanu-PF
presidential candidate should elections be held in 2008 or if Mugabe would
still insist on running for re-election with a promise that Mnangagwa would
take over a year or two after next year's elections, should Mugabe win.

      However, what is clear is that Mnangagwa's camp prefers the
former, not least because it does not trust Mugabe to give up power after
the elections, should he win. The fact that the Mnangagwa camp does not
trust Mugabe means he will go to the congress without assured political

      This creates an opportunity for change through a "soft surprise"
at the special congress, as happened in December 2006 when delegates
"surprisingly" rejected Mugabe's bid to postpone presidential elections to
2010 hoping to remain in office as president until then, elected by
Parliament without facing the electorate.

      This means that in December Mugabe will be opposed manifestly by
the Mujuru faction and latently by the Mnangagwa faction. Such a political
climate could pave the way for a dark horse to emerge as a compromise
candidate. It is hard to say who that candidate might be, although Simba
Makoni's name keeps coming up. Alternatively, the same political scenario
engendered by manifest opposition to Mugabe from the Mujuru camp and latent
opposition from the Mnangagwa faction could cause Mugabe to accept the first

      But the possibility of a "soft surprise" development at the
congress would need to be socially engineered to take advantage of the
political dynamics on the ground ahead of the congress. I think that
progressive forces in and outside Zimbabwe could play a pivotal role to
encourage, if not engineer, that development by working with strategic
Zanu-PF elements. That would be far better than simply mourning the
deteriorating situation and denouncing Mugabe for wanting to remain in
office for life.

      Third opportunity
      A third opportunity might come in the form of a "hard surprise"
through a palace coup, led by the Mujuru camp, which recently has been
making it clear to anyone who cares to listen that it wants Mugabe out.

      Earlier this year, when the Zanu-PF central committee was
reported to have endorsed Mugabe's re-election bid, the Mujuru camp started
calling openly for a special congress at year-end to settle the leadership

      The fact that Mugabe himself called for the special congress can
be seen as a victory for the Mujuru camp because it has wanted this since

      The Mujuru camp is busy on the ground organising the 10 Zanu-PF
provinces and asking them to identify individuals they think could be
presidential candidates to replace Mugabe.

      The plan appears to be to use the special congress to achieve
two objectives:

        a.. To challenge and even humiliate Mugabe by making it clear
he is not the sole Zanu-PF presidential candidate as several provinces would
come up with competing names; and

        b.. To force a nomination election by secret or even open
ballot, which the Mujuru camp believes would be won either by Mujuru or

        c.. Strategists in Mujuru's camp believe that, should it
become clear that such a nomination election is imminent, Mugabe would not
want to be part of it because the writing would then be on the wall about
his assured defeat.

       Fourth opportunity
      The above three opportunities are available to and dependent on
the ruling party. However, the Zimbabwean crisis is national in scope and
options to its resolution are not limited to developments within the ruling

      Zanu-PF's continued failure to resolve the crisis creates an
opportunity for the opposition. Unfortunately, it has not been able to
exploit that opportunity because of a range of structural and leadership

      The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), paralysed by the
suffocating and uneven political playing field, has abandoned its strategy
of mass actions and decided to engage in negotiations with its nemesis. For
now negotiations appear to be the only tool for political self-preservation
for the divided MDC. Confrontation as a strategy to dislodge the Zanu-PF
government simply has not worked, largely because of repressive legislation
and a politically immature leadership. In fact, now more than ever, I am
convinced an MDC government would be a disaster for Zimbabwe.

      What is notable is that the opportunities available within
Zanu-PF are potent material for a new, progressive opposition with
nationalist and democratic roots. I believe progressive forces in Zimbabwe
have a historic opportunity to forge a third way to bring together elements
from the ruling party, the two MDC formations, other opposition groups,
civic society organisations, churches, labour unions, student movements and
the business community to form a broad-based party to dislodge Zanu-PF.

      Mugabe and Zanu-PF continue to define the opposition as the MDC.
A major -- if not the only -- reason Mugabe is so determined to stand for
re-election against all odds is that he believes he cannot lose to the MDC.

      He has not factored in the possibility of facing a united front
of progressive forces against which he and Zanu-PF cannot win. Based on the
unfolding developments in Zimbabwe, a united front could emerge overnight
and take off like an unstoppable train.

      The major barriers to the actualisation of a united front

        a.. The challenge of identifying a unifying candidate with
leadership gravitas and mass appeal across the political divide;

        b.. Continued support of factions within the MDC by sections
of the international community that appear to be committed to particular
individual leaders in the opposition; and

        c.. Sweeping, indiscriminate and counterproductive application
of sanctions against Zanu-PF politburo and central committee members, as
well as parliamentarians.

      Another opportunity depends on Mugabe's willingness to take
charge of the transition process and manage it to ensure there is no anarchy
post his rule. This would require putting national interests ahead of
everything else and managing the succession issue in a way that allows a
capable and visionary person to serve Zimbabwe as soon as he steps down.

      This could necessitate a constitutional amendment to allow him
to move to a ceremonial role and appoint a prime minister to run the
government on a day-to-day basis. This would also protect him from
prosecution for human rights abuses and it could be accommodated within the
dialogue taking place between Zanu-PF and MDC.

      To ensure the best skills are in place to help turn around the
economy and build a new society, the prime minister would not have to be an
active member of any party and he or she should have access to skills
outside the two main political parties to serve in his government. Names
that come to mind are Strive Masiyiwa, Gideon Gono, Nkosana Moyo and Makoni.

      Sanctions unwise
      The Zimbabwean government has maintained that targeted sanctions
imposed by some Western countries since Mugabe's disputed victory in the
2002 presidential elections are illegal because they do not have the
authority of the United Nations.

      While it is true the UN has not sanctioned the sanctions, that
alone does not mean they are illegal. The countries that have imposed the
sanctions have done so in accordance with their relevant laws and there is
no international law, statute, convention or practice that has been violated
by the sanctions.

      Therefore the illegality or legality of sanctions is a

      I believe the sanctions are not wise and have not achieved any
meaningful objective given the crisis. They are not wise mainly because they
have led to the diminishing capacity of the countries implementing them to
influence events in Zimbabwe towards the much-needed resolution of the
crisis. Western countries that have imposed declared or undeclared sanctions
on Zimbabwe have done so less to deal with the deteriorating situation and
more to appease political constituencies at home.

      Almost all countries that imposed sanctions have experienced a
dramatic erosion of their diplomatic influence in and on Zimbabwe since
2002. Within the country diplomats of these countries have lost access to
ruling party and government officials, who have boycotted diplomatic
contact. Outside Zimbabwe the countries that imposed sanctions are seen as
having vested interests and therefore are not impartial when it comes to
resolving the crisis.

      At worst, many on the African continent regard the sanctions as
a white racist response to land reform in Zimbabwe. These considerations
demonstrate that the sanctions are not wise and have been counterproductive.

      Despite denials by the countries that have imposed them, the
sanctions have affected ordinary people more than those they were meant to
target. For example, the United States Zimbabwe Democracy Recovery Act
specifically bars US representatives to the World Bank, the International
Monetary Fund, the Africa Development Bank and other multilateral
institutions from supporting any loan, grant or concession to Zimbabwe.

      This has exacerbated Zimbabwe's sovereign risk status and
negatively affected a range of bilateral lending to Zimbabwe, including from
the private sector. Zimbabwe has gone without balance of payment support for
years. The consequence is felt by ordinary people across the economy.

      As a result Mugabe and Zanu-PF routinely present the sanctions
as the root cause of the biting economic meltdown when, in fact, the ruling
party's policies are largely to blame for the implosion and political
paralysis. Opposition and civic society groups have found this propaganda
difficult, if not impossible, to rebut.

       Outside bodies such as the Southern African Development
Community and the African Union have found it difficult to criticise Mugabe
and the government's policies openly or publicly, because they fear being
seen as supporting the Western sanctions that are undeniably affecting
ordinary people or as puppets of the West.

      The effect of these sanctions has been to draw progressive
Zanu-PF politicians and officials closer to Mugabe and away from reform

      Role for Western governments
      An impression has been created that the only desirable or
available options for the West involve taking tough action against Mugabe
and his cronies through targeted sanctions.

      This strategy appears to be about isolating Mugabe and his
regime from the international community. But, as the experiences of Libya,
North Korea and Iran show, isolationist policies have limited, if any,
success. Ultimately the best way to deal with rogue regimes is to confront
them through diplomatic engagement. There is a world of difference between
engagement and support.

      I believe the best the West can do now is to re-engage the
Zimbabwean government. While the content of the diplomatic engagement I
propose would vary from country to country, a leaf can be taken from the
much-maligned, so-called quiet diplomacy pursued by South Africa.

      I don't think there is any discerning observer who can argue
that South Africa supports the policies of Mugabe and his Zanu-PF government
uncritically. Far from it.

      In 1979 when the UK abandoned its aloofness and decided to
engage the frontline states, the liberation movement and the Rhodesian
government, the result was the Lancaster agreement. This crisis calls for a
similar spirit of engagement.

      Unknown factors
      Failure to influence events towards the achievement of one of
the opportunities mentioned means that we are resigned to fate.
      I have two recurring nightmares in this regard: a spontaneous
uprising by the long-suffering Zimbabwean public or anarchy following the
sudden death of Mugabe while in office.

      The first relates to the fact that Zimbabwe is fertile now for a
revolution. Life is unbearable in Zimbabwe. I have no doubt the groundswell
of anger could burst into open revolt for the smallest reason. This could
result in unimaginable consequences.

      The danger is that once it starts a spontaneous uprising would
be difficult to contain. There is no knowing what the underpaid and
disgruntled police and military would do in such circumstances.

      The second relates to Mugabe's health and age. In the absence of
a managed transition I have nightmares about what the effect of Mugabe's
sudden death in office, without a clear successor in place, would be. While
this might sound alarmist, it is a possibility. Mugabe is not a spring
chicken and intelligence sources indicate he is not well.

      The two factions within Zanu-PF would go for each other hammer
and tongs, following Mugabe's sudden death, with a high possibility of a
shooting war. The factionalism within Zanu-PF has reproduced itself in the
police, army and the national intelligence. Factionalism is dangerous and
emphasises the urgency for bold political leadership internally and for the
international community to help bring about a peaceful transition.

      Zimbabwe is pregnant with opportunities for change. For these to
be realised, politicians in Zimbabwe and the West need to jettison their
entrenched positions. There is a need to recognise that leadership is about
courage, boldness and taking calculated risks to achieve a breakthrough.

      Instead of megaphone diplomacy and a fixation on Mugabe, the
international community should work with Zanu-PF moderates and all
progressive forces to influence change that is rooted in the historical
imperatives of the country's liberation struggle.

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